Tuesday's all-star meet included more than just a final showcase for 21 of the YAIAA's senior wrestlers.
It also included a send-off for one of the sport's local legends.
As wrestlers wrapped up youth careers that for many span more than a decade, referee Ralph Hartlaub ended his 53-year career. He entered the mat to a standing ovation from the crowd at Spring Grove High School, and refereed the final match of the day, a 3-0 win by Littlestown's Zach MacLeod against Gettyburg's Giovani Alvarado,
"That was pretty awesome," MacLeod said of becoming the last wrestler to have his arm hoisted in the air by Hartlaub. "It put a nice finisher on the whole season."
After that match, wrestlers and coaches lined up to shake Hartlaub's hand and congratulate him on a great career.
"I felt he deserved every second of that (ovation)," said Josh Sneeringer, a Delone Catholic wrestler who is also Hartalub's great nephew. "He's been there since the beginning, he helped start some of these programs that are around now. If people didn't do that I think it would be very poor showing, he's done so much for the sport."
Sneeringer, whose father Frank coaches the Squires, was one of four Delone Catholic wrestlers to take part in Tuesday's meet. There were also four wrestlers from Littlestown, three from Bermudian Springs, two each from Dover, South Western and Gettysburg and one each from Spring Grove, Dallastown, Hanover and Eastern York.
Frank Sneeringer coached the "green" team, while Gettysburg coach Chris Haines coached the "red" team. Both coaches jokingly harassed Hartlaub during the second period of the match refereed by Hartlaub, who quickly issued his last coaches warnings.
The green team won eight of the 10 matches — not including a victory by forfeit for South Western's Ben Doll — and came away with a 34-10 win. Mark Evich, Clint Wright, Nick Shields, Lucas Shull, Jake Sharah, Briton Shelton, Sam McCollum and MacLeod all picked up wins for the green team, while Levi Whitmer and Colton Dull were winners for the red team.
There was little attention to the score, though, as wrestlers and coaches bantered and laughed with each other on the bench throughout the meet.
"It was pretty much a group of guys who have been wrestling each other since we were 3 or 4, so it was pretty fun," Josh Sneeringer said. "I wouldn't have traded this for anything, it was surreal. To get to wrestle with all my friends and just relax about it, it was just go out, have fun, don't get hurt."
Green 34, Red 10 at Spring Grove
106 — Ben Doll, SW, won by forfeit*; 138 — Levi Whitmer, SG, pinned Antonio Ugarte, DC; 152 — Mark Evich, DC, dec. Jesse Sterner, Do, 4-2 (OT); 152 — Clint Wright, SW, dec. Jeremy Gazmen, Lt, 7-2; 160 — Nick Sheilds, Dt, dec. Jordan Matthews, Lt, 8-5; 160 — Lucas Shull, DC, dec. Adam Smith, Lt, 4-2 (OT); 170 — Jake Sharah, Get, pinned Cody Glatfelter, Han, 2:56; 182 — Briton Shelton, BS, dec. Calvin Anderson, Do, 5-2; 195 — Colton Dull, BS, maj. dec. Josh Sneeringer, DC, 14-2; 225 — Sam McCollum, BS, pinned Scott Elliot, EY, 0:39; 285 — Zach MacLeod, Lt, dec. Giovani Alvarado, Get, 3-0.
*coaches opted not to include this result in the team score.